Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Walker The Wishdoctor

Yet another nonpartisan, nonprofit group has come to the same conclusion - Walkercare won't work (emphasis mine):
A new national study from the RAND Corporation says states choosing
not to expand Medicaid under federal health care reform will leave millions of residents without health insurance and increase spending, at least in the short term, on the costs of treating uninsured residents.

Wisconsin is among the 14 states studied in the analysis, which examined the impacts of Medicaid expansion on insurance coverage, federal payments into the states and state spending on care for the uninsured.

“Our analysis shows it’s in the best economic interests of states to expand Medicaid under the terms of the federal Affordable Care Act,” said Carter Price, the study’s lead author and a mathematician at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

The study says that if the 14 states decide not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, as intended by their governors, those state governments collectively will spend $1 billion more on uncompensated care in 2016 than they would if Medicaid is expanded.

The study also says that failing to expand Medicaid could have more than financial consequences. The study estimates that an additional 19,000 deaths could occur annually if the 14 states studied do not expand Medicaid.
The article goes on to show just how badly Scott Walker and the Republicans have screwed this one up:
Citizen Action of Wisconsin has voiced opposition to this potential deal.

“By conceding that hospitals will be damaged by an increase in uncompensated care, such a deal would be an admission that Walker’s plan will cause tens of thousands people throughout Wisconsin to lose health coverage. This has been denied by the governor and his allies in the Legislature up to now,” said Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “It would be a stunningly callous and immoral act to compensate hospitals for impact of forcing people of health coverage, when it would be easy to prevent this tragic result in the first place by taking the federal health care dollars that are on the table.”

Women’s health advocacy groups have also voiced opposition to Walker’s decision on Medicaid. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH) will mark a Wisconsin Women’s Day of Action for Health Care Coverage supported by American Association of University Women–Wisconsin (AAUW), League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network, Mid-Day Women’s Alliance, NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, Reproductive Justice Collective, The Demeter Foundation, Wisconsin Women’s Network, the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health.

“Women are the primary recipients of Medicaid services because they make up a larger portion of low-income and elderly populations, and are likely to be custodial parents,” said WAWH executive director Sara Finger. “For those committed to advancing Wisconsin women’s health and economic security, they must protect current BadgerCare coverage and improve Gov. Walker’s initial proposal.”

The Wisconsin Nurses Association also released a statement opposing Walker’s proposal, as executive director Gina Dennik-Champion said, “Nurses are deeply concerned about the approximately 88,500 patients that could lose access to Medicaid coverage. These patients would be put into a health insurance exchange that has yet to form and they would face expensive premiums, copays, and deductibles that would limit their access to quality, preventive health care services. This unnecessary barrier to health care will come with a significant cost to our hospitals, providers, and ultimately, Wisconsin taxpayers.”
But here is the real kicker of this. Walker already has first hand knowledge that not only would this work, but how it could work.

During his time as Milwaukee County Executive, up until the creation of Badger Care, Walker was responsible for seeing to the administration of a program called General Assistance Medical Program or GAMP for short. As I pointed out four years ago:
Wisconsin's General Assistance Medical Program (GAMP) provides health care coverage to indigent Milwaukee County residents who are not eligible for other forms of public coverage (such as Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program) and are not enrolled in private coverage. The county redesigned the GAMP program into a community-based primary care model in the late 1990s to achieve two interrelated goals: to provide increased primary care services, and to do so via community-based clinics. The new design was intended to improve effectiveness and efficiency of care. Prior to this, indigent patients relied on the emergency room of the county hospital, which created access barriers for enrollees and cost inefficiencies for the county. Under the redesigned model, GAMP enrollees select a participating clinic as their primary care provider, which is then responsible for providing and coordinating services. The clinic coordinates specialty care for the enrollee by working with specialists and hospitals that participate in the GAMP network. The program covered a total of 24,000 individuals in calendar year 2003, with some 10,000 to 12,000 individuals enrolled at any given time. All in all, GAMP estimated that it saved $4.2 million in 2000 (in comparison to the projected costs had the previous system remained in place). Administrators believe that inpatient and outpatient costs have been controlled largely through a Utilization Management program that ensures delivery of care in the appropriate settings and using appropriate resources.
Similar findings have been found with Obamacare.  Because having affordable assurance makes it easier for people to take care of themselves, it has drastically cut down on the much more expensive hospital stays.

The gentle reader is probably wondering why Walker would then go ahead and make such a bungle of the health care reforms if he already knew better.

The answer is really rather simple.

Walker is stupid.

Walker, despite his protestations to the contrary, is doing everything based on how it would affect his presidential campaign.

He's not about to do anything remotely resembling accepting Obamacare.  He's seen the way that the red meat Teapublicans tore up New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for doing what was in his state's best interest after last year's Frankenstorm.  He is trying to out-conservative all of his potential candidates.  Apparently, Walker napped for the three years of the 2009-12 GOP primary.

So instead of giving the slightest impression of cooperating with that Black Man in the White House, Walker somehow thinks it will help his aspirations by allowing people to deny needlessly and to raise the taxes on the living for that privilege.

Less services, more deaths, higher taxes.

That's not exactly a winning slogan, especially for a POTUS wannabe.

In fact, that's sounds pretty damn stupid.

With Walker's mishandling of health care reform for purely political reasons, he has shown himself to be a wish (he was gonna be president) doctor who should face charges for malfeasance as well as malpractice.


  1. "Less services, more deaths, higher taxes."

    Anyone up for forming a SuperPAC to run ads in 2014 using that tagline in 'support' of Walker?

  2. Walker's budget is loaded with goodies to attract voters. Those making over $100K will receive a fat tax cut, while those making less will enjoy table scraps. Sportsmen for Walker should thrill at Walker's plan to sell public hunting lands.

  3. Walker isn't stupid, he just doesn't care about outcomes. All he's concerned with is passing legislation that he can hang the tag "reform" on for use in a Presidential race. Whether the reform is completely disastrous or only partially so is irrelevant. He can always patch up the holes by throwing taxpayer money into the abyss.

    Speaking of "reform" outcomes:

    HEADLINE: Time Limits On Welfare Can Lead to Higher Mortality Rates


  4. "Time Limits On Welfare Can Lead to Higher Mortality Rates"

    That's one way to save money!